The reburial of Richard III gained worldwide attention, and now it’s been estimated that the discovery and reinterment of the king in Leicester brought around £60 million to the city’s economy. And the experts who did the calculations say that ongoing interest in seeing the last Plantagenet’s tomb could bring in millions in the years to come.
A Nottingham based firm, Focus Consultants, were asked by Leicester City Council to look at how much revenue the ‘Richard III effect’ has brought to the area.
They estimated that from 2012 when the remains of Richard III were found to March 2015 when the king was reinterred visitor numbers total tourist spend was up by £59 million.
Heather Frecklington, an associate at Focus, said ‘The effects were felt widely on the economy in many ways, including creating jobs and bringing in income. This was a unique event in history’. And it’s estimated that £4.5 million of that was generated in the two weeks of special events around the actual re-interment of the king that took place on 26 March 2015.
The mayor of Leicester, Peter Soulsby said: “the discovery of Richard III and his subsequent re-interment has had a greater impact on the city than we could ever have anticipated. There is no doubt we are welcoming more visitors…than ever before.”
Focus Consultants calculate that 600,000 extra tourists made the trip to Leicester because of the ‘Richard III Effect’ between 2012 and 2015.
Peter Soulsby adds that’s good news for the whole of Leicester with visitors looking beyond the king when they reach the city. He said ‘Judging by the increased number of visits to our museums and heritage sites they are finding out about the rest of our rich history and not just Richard III.’
But there’s no doubt that the remarkable story of the rediscovery of this king’s bones and the spectacular ceremonies that led to his reinterment have been the main draw, this year at least. Richard III took the throne of England in 1483, replacing his nephew Edward V, who disappeared with his young brother, another Richard, soon afterwards and was never seen again. Richard III’s two-year reign was tumultuous and ended in defeat and death at the hands of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth, not far from Leicester. He had been buried at the Church of the Greyfriars in the city, but his tomb was lost for centuries until the famous find in 2012.
And now another chapter has been added to the story of the man who, for years, was best known as the villain of Shakespeare’s famous play. Richard III’s reputation is still debated by historians but for the local economy, at least, it seems that in three short years he really has gone from zero to hero.